Friday, 26 March 2010


FORD SAYS: Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) will once again participate in the global phenomenon Earth Hour this weekend. FMCSA will support this worthy cause by switching off all possible lighting and power at both of its plants in South Africa between 20:30 and 21:30 on 27 March 2010.

Earth Hour 2010 is a global initiative by the World Wide Fund for Nature. It’s a call to action to every individual, business and community to take a stand against Climate Change. FMCSA participated in the event last year and will once again stand up in support of the cause.

Originating in Sydney, Australia in 2007, the Earth Hour initiative proved more than worthwhile when it witnessed 2 million people coming together to switch off their lights for one hour for this vital cause. The initiative has grown into one of the greatest mass participations against global warming with approximately 1 billion people demonstrating their support last year.


PSA SAYS: A partner to the Planète Durable trade show, to be held at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre from 25 to 28 March, PSA Peugeot Citroën is presenting its commitments in the field of sustainable development as well as its carbon-free mobility solutions.

In response to environmental challenges and new, legitimate customer expectations, the Group is offering a broad range of more environmentally friendly vehicles. 

With European sales of more than 670,000 vehicles emitting fewer than 120 g of CO2/km in 2009, PSA Peugeot Citroën is already the leader in low-emission vehicles. Its goal is to sell over one million units in 2012.


NISSAN SAYS: Nissan South Africa (Nissan SA) continues to partner with the local  OEM (original equipment manufacturer) supplier base, says the company’s General Manager of Purchasing Stefan Haasbroek, who agrees that local suppliers have been hard hit by the recession as well as having to operate in an increasingly competitive global environment.

“It is not simply about sourcing with the lowest cost supplier, but about partnering with suppliers that share our vision of a sustainable and competitive auto industry and OEM supplier base in South Africa,” states Haasbroek


FORD SAYS: Ford is supporting the motorsports team from Cologne University of Applied Science at this year’s 24-hour race at the legendary Nürburgring circuit in Germany, on May 15 - 16. 

For the 2010 event, a group of Automotive Engineering students at Cologne University are developing a race contender based on a 224kW Ford Focus RS supplied by Ford. It will be driven in the race by a team of four drivers, which will be announced closer to the event.

Under the guidance of graduate engineer Professor Frank Herman, 20 students are busy preparing the Ford Focus RS for the race.  The students have a long list of items on their 'to do list', including managing the integration of required safety features like the roll cage, 6-point safety belt, fire extinguisher and racing Recaro bucket seat. 

They are also handling the installation of the KW race suspension, the race braking system by TRW, the Bastuck catalyst and exhaust system, a safety fuel tank and the hydraulic on-board car jack for quick pit stops.

Through this co-operation, Ford is broadening further its engagement with academic institutions to support the education of young engineers, some of whom may go on to work with Ford.

Thursday, 25 March 2010


At the launch of the new Hyundai i30, company bosses said the car is a direct rival to cars like the Volkswagen Golf, Honda Civic hatch, Toyota Auris, Mazda3 and Ford Focus hatch.

“With the i30 we’re going to bring the full weight of Hyundai’s ongoing metamorphosis to bear on the C-segment for the first time,” said Marketing Director Stanley Anderson. “The i10 and i20 have done the groundwork in the smaller segments, and this car will confirm the brand’s ability to build cars which are the equal of anything to come out of Europe.”

I was therefore surprised to find it looking a little smaller than its already-established competitors.

But at 4.2m long, 1.8m wide, 1.48m high and with a wheelbase of 2.65m, the i30 is right in the ballpark of competitors. Is it as good?


RENAULT SAYS: The Renault F1 Team and Altran today launched the seventh season of a unique competition with a proven track record of bringing young engineering talent into F1: the Altran Engineering Academy.

It’s an age-old conundrum for talented young engineers aiming for a career at the pinnacle of motorsport: “How can I get a job in Formula 1?” Since 2004, the Renault F1 Team and Altran have been providing the answer through the Altran Engineering Academy, a competition that identifies and rewards technical excellence at graduate level. The prize takes the form of a six-month internship in the Research and Development department of the Renault F1 Team – a genuine opportunity to launch and pursue a career at the highest level of world motorsport.

For 2010, the Renault F1 Team will offer not one but two internships to the winning finalists. The first will be at the team’s chassis development facility in Enstone, UK; the second at its engine development centre in Viry-Châtillon, France. In both cases, the winning student will join the team for a six-month placement that could open the door to a long career in F1. Included in the package is a six-month salary of ?6,500, a Renault pool vehicle with a business fuel card and accommodation in a one-bedroom flat. What’s more, every finalist will receive a special engraved edition of the recently launched Pilot Watch from Renault F1 Team partner TW Steel to commemorate their achievement.

In order to enter the competition, applicants must be final-year students or recent graduates of a university or prestigious school, who have specialised in science or technology. Entry to the competition takes the form of a 500-word submission describing a technological innovation in one of eight areas related to F1 development: aerodynamics, control systems and electronics, design and analysis, performance engineering, power train energy recovery, materials research and development, transducers and test technology or vehicle dynamics. The focus of the presentation is on how this innovation can improve car performance, and how the student plans to conduct the project over the six-month internship.

The entry period lasts from March 22 to May 28 2010, with the finalists to be announced on June 14. The 2010 Altran Academy will feature representatives from 18 countries that reflect Altran’s positioning and international reach. They are organised into 11 global regions, and each region will provide one finalist in the competition. These 11 finalists will present their projects to an expert jury chaired by Robin Tuluie, Head of R&D at the Renault F1 Team, on July 13 2010 at the team’s Enstone headquarters. The winning finalists will begin their placements in September 2010.

The Altran Engineering Academy has a proven track record as the launching pad for a career in F1. 2004 winner Mark Caldwell continues to work with the team as a CAD engineer, while other winners and finalists have worked with the team in trackside and factory roles, and continue to do so. The 2009 Academy winner, Helen Makey, triumphed with a presentation on enhancing energy efficiency through moveable aerodynamics. She was the competition’s first female winner, and recently had her contract extended to continue working in the team’s performance department.


PEUGEOT SAYS: Peugeot’s drive to offer commercial vehicle operators an exceptional value proposition continues. Every Expert tepee and Expert van model now includes a five-year / 100 000 kilometre service plan, while the Partner includes a five-year /  90 000 kms as standard.  This covers all normal servicing until either of the time/distance parameters is reached.

The Boxer line-up, which boasts no less than eight derivatives – six vans of various sizes and a pair of chassis/cab models – now comes standard with a five-year / 120 000 km full maintenance plan. This is comprehensive and includes lubricants and parts for services as well as labour.  Replacement parts include clutch kits, front and rear brake pads, accessory belts, front and rear wheel bearings, wiper blades and batteries.